Can you live in mystery?

Can you live in mystery? For me, advent is a season of mystery. It is about waiting…something that most of us don’t do well. It is also about not knowing. When we wait for a baby we have no idea what the outcome will be. The baby may be healthy or not…fussy or not….cute or not. We just don’t know.

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We also won’t know for years what that child will be like when an adult. We may do everything we can to raise him/her and it still may not work out. We live daily in mystery but we think we are in charge. We think we are in control.

im not in chargeI learned pretty early on that I am not in charge. Anyone who has suffered with illness or mental health issues has that hit home. We have learned that life is about living each day as it comes.

If we have learned how to cope with unknowing then we make adjustments and move on to the next day. Strangely enough this is not a bad thing. Those who have not learned about life’s mystery have difficulty when something goes out of their control.

So, don’t bemoan the trials you have had. Take the things you have learned and use them to your benefit. You will be able to tackle challenges better and recover faster than those who have never faced the unknown that shatters their belief.

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Know this—your experiences have made you stronger. You can live in mystery.

The joy of giving

Taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life. —Dalai Lama

labelsChristmas is about giving. It is not about trying to give the most expensive gift. It is about giving the things that warm the heart. We have become so conscious of labels. Is that from Marc Jacobs or Coach? We even have many things with the labels on the outside so we can flaunt how expensive something is. When I was growing up we wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a label on the outside of something. It is amazing how things have changed.

This kind of thinking makes us feel stingy if we don’t or can’t give something expensive. Some of the best things I have been given were of little or no cost. I have a small angel sitting by my sink. It holds my rings when I take them off. My mother gave this to me and I remember her when I use it. I doubt it cost more than $1.00. It was in my stocking one Christmas. A forever gift.

gift of timeThe gift of time is one of the most amazing gifts we can give… visiting a friend who is sick, transporting someone who just needs a ride. These are gifts that bring joy to others and to us.

We have lost the pleasure of giving something hand made. We can’t seem to grasp that the hours taken to make a gift are also a gift of time. When I knit or crochet a gift I think about that person while making it. Love is put into each stitch. It brings me joy to do this and I hope that it brings love to the person receiving it.

Those who feed the homeless or collect items for them are giving a gift of themselves along with the food and clothing. These gifts bring joy to all.

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This season remember the joy of giving. The cost matters not. It is the love in the gift.

Find your growing place!

complain volunteerSome people delight in complaining. They want to tell you what is wrong. They don’t want to fix it they just want to complain. Some of them are negative all the time but some are not. If you are part of a group plan there is always someone who wants to tell you why it won’t work. I hate to say it but probably the worst are church members. I think that part of the reason is that everyone who belongs think they own the whole thing. If there is one typo in the bulletin they have to point it out. Especially in some place where everyone can hear.

The hardest part about belonging to a church is that it is as imperfect as we are. I think that’s what turns some people off. The expectation is that everyone in the church will behave in a Christian way. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Church may not necessarily be important to your spiritual growth but a community of people is. If you can find a church that feels like home that is wonderful. If you can’t then at least seek our some like-minded souls who will support you on your path.

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It is very difficult to grow in your chosen faith alone. We all need people who share their stories, their struggles and their journey. Connecting with others gives us insights that we would not find on our own. That is the same kind of support that some of us find blogging. We can gain support that way if we truly exchange our formation stories and our successes and failures. However, where faith is concerned, I think some sort of physical connection helps. Not everyone benefits from a place where we experience physical touch but as humans it changes us.

Don’t ever stop seeking the place that you can grown and thrive!

 

A wider God

This morning the pastor at our church said in her sermon…spoken to God….“Let me not confine you in the narrowness of my mind.” This is a very profound statement.

Whatever your belief, if you espouse any God, this tells us where most of us want to be. We want a God who is like us. We want to create God in our image instead of the other way around. We want a God who thinks like us. We want a manageable God.

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If God is like us then God has the same bias, the same prejudice and the same belief system. Then it is easy for me to point fingers at others and scoff at their beliefs. It allows me to pick and choose what God thinks. Aren’t I amazing?

This God can occupy a nice closed box in my mind and I will only let out what I deem appropriate. However, God is tricky and sneaks out of the box in and plants ideas that I don’t want to consider. He/she is constantly challenging me and widening my mind, calling me on prejudices and making me rethink my ideas.

It is abundantly clear to me that however much I could live with God in a box that is not going to happen. And in reality it would not be something I want.

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I see a God who is infinite and intimate. I see a God whose mind I cannot comprehend. I see a God whose thoughts are so far above mine that the universe can’t contain them. Maybe this is not at all comfortable but this, for me, is God.

3.2.1. Quote Me Challenge

I want to thank Damon Brewster  at https://my-journey-online.com for choosing me to participate in the 3.2.1. Quote Me Challenge. Check out his blog it is wonderful to read! His challenge word for me is: Peace

The Rules Of This Challenge Are As Follows:

Thank the Selector

Post 2 quotes for the dedicated topic of the day

Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

And give them a topic/word

Note: Although this is the topic for today there is no specific deadline to it, meaning you can answer when you choose.

The topic I choose is

faith

This was not the first quote that came to mind but the one that has pulled me today.

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Gandhi and Martin Luther King really understood what peace means

 

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My three nominees are:

Eric, who writes so movingly about life in a different place at https://theuntamedplaces.com

Rachel, whose insights I look forward to seeing at https://rachelmankowitz.com

Lilly, whose kindness is so apparent,  at https://whitelillyweb.wordpress.com

Be sure to look at these blogs!

The pain of memory loss

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One of my word press reads talked about having a 26 hour day. It reminded me of the book about Alzheimer’s with that name. Living with someone whose mind is slipping away moment by moment is excruciating. It is hard on those who are losing themselves day after day but it is harder still on those who are watching it happen. Losing the person you love until they no longer know you is beyond terrible.

I have worked with families dealing with this crisis and it is so difficult and painful. It is so hard to cope when the muddled mind changes reality. Caregivers want so badly to correct the thinking and this exacerbates the situation. We want so much to bring them back to who they were and caregivers have to learn to live into the persons reality. I used to visit someone who thought he was living his 20 year ago life. When we talked I had to accept his viewpoint and talk with him about life as he was living it. This is much more difficult for the caregivers.

AliveInside-WEBAs the disease progresses management at home can become impossible. Frequently the patient has something called “sundowners.” This means that they are alert when everyone else needs to sleep. A friend of mine’s mother climbed out a window in the middle of the night to “go home.”  How can the average family cope with someone who could leave the stove on starting a fire or turns on the bathtub faucet flooding the house? Caregivers are stressed and exhausted.

In the USA the other problem is the cost of care. Many people have to manage care at home with little help. Their day becomes the 26 hour day. Be kind and compassionate for those who are care-giving someone with this illness. Help where you can. Their life is disintegrating one moment at a time.

There is love

graffiti_text_loveOne of the most important things to accept and understand is that each of us is loved. I am not talking about the love of another person but the love that surrounds us. For me, there is a love that pervades the universe. We learn to accept that each of us is unique and as such never to be again. Our time on earth is a gift. We have to make choices about how we use that gift. We didn’t seek that gift. It was given freely and without expectation of some sort of return.

If we can accept that we are loved then we have love to give away to others. Not just people but also to the earth that we inhabit. There are times when we don’t feel any love directed toward us. We feel alone, alienated, and abandoned. We must learn to pull away from this idea. Regardless of how unimportant or unnoticed we feel we must accept the fact that we matter.

where there is loveTo me this feeling of being left out, ostracized and without meaning is insidious and can trap us in depression. Sometimes it is hard to believe that love surrounds us. You can see it as God, or whatever form you accept but it is there.

When you are in a bad place and can’t see your way remember the love and know that you can reach out and find a way out of the darkness. There is always a way.